Updated on 1 Jul 2020, 10:30 am
Prime Minister Narendra Modi (PHOTO: Twitter)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, the eve of unlock-2, announced extension of free ration for over 80 crore people in the country under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY), till this November end.
The PMGKAY was launched in April for three months amid the nationwide lockdown announced to help contain COVID-19 spread.
In his sixth televised address to the nation since the pandemic, the prime minister announced the extension of PMGKAY by five more months and said that over Rs 90,000 crore will be spent on the extension of the programme. He also said that if the last three months expenditure on account of the free ration scheme is added then the total budget will be about Rs 1.5 lakh crore.
Modi said he extended the scheme as July marks the beginning of the festive season and people's expenditure will increase.
"Keeping all these things in mind, it has been decided to extend Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana up to Diwali and Chhath Puja till November end," Modi said.
The prime minister also said that the central government is working on the "one nation, one ration card" initiative. It will benefit people living outside their home for employment.
Under the scheme, each family member is entitled to five kilogram wheat or rice, and every family gets one kilogram whole gram per month as well.
Modi also lauded the farmers and taxpayers for the government's success in providing free ration to the needy and poor. While farmers produced enough grains, contribution from honest taxpayers has helped the poor cope with a big crisis successfully.
"On behalf of all the poor of the country, I express my heartfelt gratitude to all the taxpayers and farmers, and also salute them. In the coming days, we will further strengthen our efforts and continuously work to empower the poor, downtrodden and deprived sections of society. While taking all the precautions, we will further expand the economic activities," Modi said
Earlier, Modi had said that no one in the country must remain hungry.